How to Conduct a Meeting

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Although all meetings do not have to strictly follow "Robert's Rules of Order," they do need to be planned beforehand and keep to a set agenda. One of the worst things that can occur in a meeting is when the leader loses control of the participants and the discussions go in numerous directions. In such cases, little or nothing is accomplished, and the meeting ends up a complete waste of time and a mark against the convener.

Plan a specific agenda, even if only one item is going to be covered. Give ample warning to anyone who is to give a report. The agenda explains to everyone the reason why the meeting is being held and the ultimate purpose. The agenda should also have a time frame, so those who attend know how to plan the rest of their day.

Supply the attendants with a copy of documents that are going to be discussed several days before the meeting. Ask them to be prepared to talk about the report and to come in with their thoughts and comments. You do not want anyone reading the paper while others are discussing it.

Extend appreciation to each person who contributes to the meeting. Try to get input from each person present and thank each one for her participation with a personal comment.

Send each of the attendants a follow-up note with the major points made throughout the meeting. If it is a formal meeting with notes taken, each person should have these to review before the next time the group meets.


  • Do not let a person come late to each meeting. Being late once or twice is all right, but each time shows complete disrespect.


  • If it looks like the meeting will be running more than ten minutes after noted in the agenda, take a vote on whether to continue or meet again.